James Fenimore Cooper.

Homeward bound; or, The chase, a tale of the sea online

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"On reanluna the cabin, where icrQi immediately tastenei.flie
ivro gentlemen found the family party m fhe distress t]ia.t the
drcnni stances -woiild. iiaturallv i_-reate.


In tlie twinkling, of an t-ve an Arab sprang from
the sand, on winch he had been t-,lee:pma. ananas on







"Is t not strange, Ctmiditm,
1 hat from Tnrentum ;ind Bninduiium,
I e could so quickly out the Ionian Sea,
And take in Toryne." SHVKSPSAKK.




1 SCO.

Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1860, by

In the Clerk s Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.



IN one respect, this book is a parallel to Franklin s
well-known apologue of the hatter and his sign. It
was commenced with a sole view to exhibit the pres
ent state of society in the United States, through the
agency, in part, of a set of characters with different
peculiarities, who had freshly arrived from Europe, and
to whom the distinctive features of the country would
be apt to present themselves with greater force, than
to those who had never lived beyond the influence of
the things portrayed. By the original plan, the work
was to open at the threshold of the country, or with
the arrival of the travellers at Sandy Hook, from
which point the tale was to have been carried regu
larly forward to its conclusion. But a consultation
with others has left little more of this plan than the
hatter s friends left of his sign. As a vessel was intro
duced in the first chapter, the cry was for "more ship,"
until the work has become " all ship ;" it actually
closing at, or near, the spot where it was originally
intended it should commence. Owing to this diversion
from the author s design a design that lay at the bot
tom of all his projects a necessity has been created of


running the tale through two separate works, or of
making a hurried and insufficient conclusion. The
former scheme has, consequently, been adopted.

It is hoped that the interest of the narrative will not
be essentially diminished by this arrangement.

There will be, very likely, certain imaginative per
sons, who will feel disposed to deny that every minute
event mentioned in these volumes ever befell one and
the same ship, though ready enough to admit that they
may very well have occurred to several different ships ;
a mode of commenting that is much in favor with
your small critic. To this objection, we shall make
but a single answer. The caviller, if any there should
prove to be, is challenged to produce the log-book of
the Montauk London packet, and if it should be found
to contain a single sentence to controvert any one of
our statements or facts, a frank recantation shall be
made. Captain Truck is quite as w r ell known in New
York as in London or Portsmouth, and to him also we
refer with confidence, for a confirmation of all we have
said, with the exception, perhaps, of the little occa
sional touches of character that may allude directly to
himself. In relation to the latter, Mr. Leach, and par
ticularly Mr. Saunders, are both invoked as unimpeach
able witnesses.

Most of our readers will probably know that all
which appears in a New York journal is not necessa
rily as true as the Gospel. As some slight deviations
from the facts accidentally occur, though doubtless at
very long intervals, it should not be surprising that
they sometimes omit circumstances that are quite as
veracious as any thing they do actually utter to the
world. No argument, therefore, can justly be urged


against the incidents of this story, on account of the
circumstance of their not being embodied in the regu
lar marine news of the day.

Another serious objection on the part of the Ameri
can reader to this work is foreseen. The author has
endeavored to interest his readers in occurrences of a
date as antiquated as two years can make them, when
he is quite aware, that, in order to keep pace with a
state of society in which there was no yesterday, it
would have been much safer to anticipate things, by
laying his scene two years in advance. It is hoped,
however, that the public sentiment will not be out
raged by this glimpse at antiquity, and this the more
so, as the sequel of the tale will bring down events
within a year of the present moment.

Previously to the appearance of that seuqel, how
ever, it may be well to say a few words concerning the
fortunes of some of our characters, as it might be en

To commence with the most important : the Mon-
tauk herself, once deemed so "splendid" and con
venient, is already supplanted in the public favor by a
new ship ; the reign of a popular packet, a popular
preacher, or a popular anything-else, in America, being
limited, by a national esprit de corps, to a time mate
rially shorter than that of a lustre. This, however, is
no more than just ; rotation in favor being as evidently
a matter of constitutional necessity, as rotation in office.

Captain Truck, for a novelty, continues popular, a
circumstance that he himself ascribes to the fact of his
being still a bachelor.

Toast is promoted, figuring at the head of a pantry
quite equal to that of his great master, who regards


his improvement with some such eyes as Charles the
Twelfth of Sweden regarded that of his great rival
Peter, after the affair of Pultowa.

Mr. Leach now smokes his own cigar, and issues his


own orders from a monkey rail, his place in the line
being supplied by his former " Dickey." He already
speaks of his great model, as of one a little antiquated,
it is true, but as a man who had merit in his time,
though it was not the particular merit that is in fashion

Notwithstanding these little changes, which are per
haps inseparable from the events of a period so long as
two years in a country so energetic as America, and in
which nothing seems to be stationary but the ages of
Tontine nominees and three-life leases, a cordial esteem
was created among the principal actors in the events
of this book, w 7 hich is likely to outlast the passage, and
which will not fail to bring most of them together
again in the sequel.

April, 1838.



" An inner room I have,

"Where thou shalt rest and some refreshment take,
And then we will more fully talk of this."


THE coast of England, though infinitely finer than our own,
is more remarkable for its verdure, and for a general appearance
of civilization than for its natural beauties. The chalky cliffs
may seem bold and noble to the American, though compared
to the granite piles that buttress the Mediterranean they are
but molehills ; and the travelled eye seeks beauties instead, in
the retiring vales, the leafy hedges, and the clustering towns
that dot the teeming island. Neither is Portsmouth a very fa
vorable specimen of a British port, considered solely in reference
to the picturesque. A town situated on a humble point, and
fortified after the manner of the Low Countries, with an excel
lent haven, suggests more images of the useful than of the
pleasing; while a background of modest receding hills offers
little beyond the verdant swales of the country. In this respect
England itself has the fresh beauty of youth, rather than the
mellowed hues of a more advanced period of life ; or it might
be better to say, it has the young freshness and retiring sweet
ness that distinguish her females, as compared with the warmer
tints of Spain and Italy, and which, women and landscape alike,
need the near view to be appreciated.

Some such thoughts as these passed through the mind of the


traveller who stood on the deck of the packet Montauk, resting
an elbow on the quarter-deck rail, as he contemplated the view
of the coast that stretched before him, east and west, for leagues.
The manner in which this gentleman, whose temples were
sprinkled with gray hairs, regarded the scene, denoted more of
the thoughtfulness of experience, and of tastes improved by
observation, than it is usual to meet amid the bustling and
common-place characters that compose the majority in almost
every situation of life. The calmness of his exterior, an ait-
removed equally from the admiration of the novice and the
superciliousness of the tyro, had, indeed, so strongly distin
guished him from the moment he embarked in London to that
in which he was now seen in the position mentioned, that several
of the seamen swore he was a man-of-war s-man in disguise.
The fair-haired, lovely, blue-eyed girl at his side, too, seemed a
softened reflection of all his sentiment, intelligence, knowledge,
tastes, and cultivation, united to the artlessness and simplicity
that became her sex and years.

" We have seen nobler coasts, Eve," said the gentleman,
pressing the arm that leaned on his own ; " but, after all, Eng
land will always be fair to American eyes."

" More particularly so if those eyes first opened to the light
in the eighteenth century, father."

"You, at least, my child, have been educated beyond the
reach of national foibles, whatever may have been my own evil
fortune ; and still, I think even you have seen a great deal to
admire in this country, as well as in this coast."

Eve Effingham glanced a moment towards the eye of her
father, and perceiving that he spoke in playfulness, without suf
fering a cloud to shadow a countenance that usually varied with
her emotions, she continued the discourse, which had, in fact,
only been resumed by the remark first mentioned.

" I have been educated, as it is termed, in so many different
places and countries," returned Eve, smiling, that I sometimes
fancy I was born a woman, like my great predecessor and name-


sake, the mother of Abel. If a congress of nations, in the way
of masters, can make one independent of prejudice, I may claim
to possess the advantage. My greatest fear is, that in acquiring
liberality, I have acquired nothing else."

Mr. Effingham turned a look of parental fondness, in which
parental pride was clearly mingled, on the face of his daughter,
and said with his eyes, though his tongue did not second the
expression, " This is a fear, sweet one, that none besides thyself
would feel."

" A congress of nations, truly !" muttered another male voice
near the father and daughter. " You have been taught music
in general, by seven masters of as many different states, besides
the touch of the guitar by a Spaniard ; Greek by a German ;
the living tongues by the European powers ; and philosophy by
seeing the world ; and now, with a brain full of learning, fingers
full of touches, eyes full of tints, and a person full of grace, your
father is taking you back to America, to waste your sweetness
on the desert air. "

" Poetically expressed, if not justly imagined, cousin Jack,"
returned the laughing Eve ; " but you have forgot to add, and a
heart full of feeling for the land of my birth."

" We shall see, in the end."

" In the end, as in the beginning, now and for evermore."

" All love is eternal in the commencement."

" Do you make no allowance for the constancy of woman ?
Think you that a girl of twenty can forget the country of her
birth, the land of her forefathers or, as you call it yourself
when in a good humor, the land of liberty ?"

" A pretty specimen you will have of its liberty !" returned
the cousin, sarcastically. "After having passed a girlhood of
wholesome restraint in the rational society of Europe, you are
about to return home to the slavery of American female life,
just as you are about to be married !"

" Married ! Mr. Effingham ?

" I suppose the catastrophe will arrive, sooner or later ; and


it is more likely to occur to a girl of twenty than to a girl
of ten."

" Mr. John Effingham never lost an argument for the want
of a convenient fact, my love," the father observed, by way of
bringing the brief discussion to a close. " But here are the
boats approaching ; let us withdraw a little, and examine the
chance medley of faces with which we are to become familiar
by the intercourse of a month."

" You will be much more likely to agree on a verdict of mur
der," muttered the kinsman.

Mr. Effingham led his daughter into the hurricane-house or,
as the packet-men quaintly term it, the coacA-house, where they
stood watching the movements on the quarter-deck for the next
half hour ; an interval of which we shall take advantage to
touch in a few of the stronger lights of our picture, leaving the
softer tints and the shadows to be discovered by the manner in
which the artist " tells the story."

Edward and John Effingham were brothers children ; were
born on the same day ; had passionately loved the same woman,
who had preferred the first named, and died soon after Eve was
born ; had, notwithstanding this collision in feeling, remained
sincere friends, and this the more so, probably, from a mutual
and natural sympathy in their common loss ; had lived much
together at home, and travelled much together abroad, and were
now about to return in company to the land of their birth, after
what might be termed an absence of twelve years ; though both
had visited America for short periods in the intervals, John
not less than five times.

There was a strong family likeness between the cousins, their
persons and even features being almost identical 5 though it was
scarcely possible for two human beings to leave more opposite
impressions on mere casual spectators when seen separately.
Both were tall, of commanding presence, and handsome ; while
one was winning in appearance, and the other, if not positively
forbidding, at least distant and repulsive. The noble outline


of face in Edward Effingham had got to be cold seventy in that
of John ; the aquiline nose of the latter, seeming to possess an
eagle-like and hostile curvature, his compressed lip, sarcastic
and cold expression, and the fine classical chin, a feature in
which so many of the Saxon race fail, a haughty scorn that
caused strangers usually to avoid him. Eve drew with great
facility and truth ; and she had an eye, as her cousin had rightly
said, "full of tints." Often and often had she sketched both of
these loved faces, arid never without wondering wherein that
strong difference existed in nature which she had never been
able to impart to her drawings. The truth is, that the subtle
character of John Efrmgham s face would have puzzled the skill
of one who had made the art his study for a life, and it utterly
set the graceful but scarcely profound knowledge of the beautiful
young painter at defiance. All the points of character that
rendered her father so amiable and so winning, and which were
rather felt than perceived, in his cousin were salient and bold,
and if it may be thus expressed, had become indurated by
mental suffering and disappointment.

The cousins were both rich, though in ways as opposite as
their dispositions and habits of thought. Edward Effingham
possessed a large hereditary property, that brought a good in
come, and which attached him to this world of ours by kindly
feelings towards its land and water; while John, much the
wealthier of the two, having inherited a large commercial for
tune, did not own ground enough to bury him. As he some
times deiidingly said, he " kept his gold in corporations, that
were as soulless as himself."

Still, John Effingham was a man of cultivated mind, of ex
tensive intercourse with the world, and of manners that varied
with the occasion ; or perhaps it were better to say, with his
humors. In all these particulars but the latter the cousins
were alike ; Edward Effingham s deportment being as equal as
his temper, though he was also distinguished fora knowledge
of society.


These gentlemen had embarked at London, on their fiftieth
birthday, in the packet of the 1st of October, bound to New
York ; the lands and family residence of the proprietor lying
in the state of that name, of which all of the parties were na
tives. It is not usual for the cabin passengers of the London
packets to embark in the docks ; but Mr. Effingham, as we
shall call the father in general, to distinguish him from the
bachelor, John, as an old and experienced traveller, had deter
mined to make his daughter familiar with the peculiar odors
of the vessel in smooth water, as a protection against sea-sick
ness ; a malady, however, from which she proved to be singu
larly exempt in the end. They had, accordingly, been on
board three days, when the ship came to an anchor off Ports
mouth, the point where the remainder of the passengers were
to join her on that particular day when the scene of this tale

At this precise moment, then, the Montauk was lying at a
single anchor, not less than a league from the land, in a flat
calm, with her three topsails loose, the courses in the brails,
and with all those signs of preparation about her that are so
bewildering to landsmen, but which seamen comprehend as
clearly as words. The captain had no other business there
than to take on board the wayfarers, and to renew his supply
of fresh meat and vegetables ; things of so familiar import on
shore as to be seldom thought of until missed, but which swell
into importance during a passMge of a month s duration. Eve
had employed her three days of probation quite usefully, having,
with the exception of the two gentlemen, the officers of the
vessel, and one other person, been in quiet possession of all the
ample, not to say luxurious cabins. It is true, she had a female
attendant; but to her she had been accustomed from child
hood, and Nanny Sidley, as her quondam nurse and actual
lady s-maid was termed, appeared so much a part of herself,
that, while her absence would be missed almost as greatly as
that of a limb, her presence was as much a matter of course as


a hand or foot. Nor will a passing word concerning- this ex
cellent and faithful domestic be thrown away, in the briet
preliminary explanations we are making.

Ann Sidley was one of those excellent creatures who, it is
the custom with the European travellers to say, do not exist at
all in America, and who, while they are certainly less numerous
than could be wished, have no superiors in the world, in their
way. She had been born a servant, lived a servant, and was
quite content to die a servant, and this, too, in one and the
same family. Yr r e shall not enter into a philosophical exami
nation of the reasons that had induced old Ann to feel certain
she was in the precise situation to render her more happy than
any other that to her was attainable ; but feel it she did, as
John Effingham used to express it, " from the crown of her
head to the sole of her foot." She had passed through infancy,
childhood, girlhood, up to womanhood, pari passu, with the
mother of Eve, having been the daughter of a gardener, who
died in the service of the family, and had heart enough to feel
that the mixed relations of civilized society, when properly
understood and appreciated, are more pregnant of happiness
than the vulgar scramble and heart-burnings, that, in the melee
of a migrating and unsettled population, are so injurious to the
grace and principles of American life. At the death of Eve s
mother, she had transferred her affections to the child ; and
twenty years of assiduity and care had brought her to feel as
much tenderness for her lovely young charge as if she had been
her natural parent. But Nanny Sidley was better fitted to care
for the body than the mind of Eve ; and when, at the age of
ten, the latter was placed under the control of an accomplished
governess, the good woman had meekly and quietly sunk the
duties of the nurse in those of the maid.

One of the severest trials or " crosses," as she herself term
ed it that poor Nanny had ever experienced, was endured
when Eve began to speak in a language she could not herself
comprehend ; for, in despite of the best intentions in the world.


and twelve years of use, the good woman could never make
any thing of the foreign tongues her young charge was so
rapidly acquiring. One day, when Eve had been maintaining
an animated and laughing discourse in Italian with her in
structress, Nanny, unable to command herself, had actually
caught the child to her bosom, and, bursting into tears, im
plored her not to estrange herself entirely from her poor old
nurse. The caresses and solicitations of Eve soon brought the
good woman to a sense of her weakness ; but the natural feel
ing was so strong, that it required years of close observation to
reconcile her to the thousand excellent qualities of Mademoi
selle Viefville, the lady to whose superintendence the education
of Miss Effingham had been finally confided.

This Mademoiselle Viefville was also among the passengers,
and was the one other person who now occupied the cabins in
common with Eve and her friends. She was the daughter of a
French officer who had fallen in Napoleon s campaigns, had
been educated at one of those admirable establishments which
form points of relief in the ruthless history of the conqueror,
and had now lived long enough to have educated two young
persons, the last of whom was Eve Effingham. Twelve years
of close communion with her leve had created sufficient at
tachment to cause her to yield to the solicitations of the father
to accompany his daughter to America, and to continue with
her during the first year of her probation, in a state of society
that the latter felt must be altogether novel to a young woman
educated as his own child had been.

So much has been written and said of French governesses,
that we shall not anticipate the subject, but leave this lady to
speak and act for herself in the course of the narrative. Neither
is it our intention to be very minute in these introductory re
marks concerning any of our characters; but having thus
traced their outlines, we shall return again to the incidents as
they occurred, trusting to make the reader better acquainted
with all the parties as we proceed,



u Lord Cram and Lord Vultur,
Sir Brandish O Cultur,
With Marshall Carouzer,
And old Lady Mouser."


THE assembling of the passengers of a packet-ship is at all
times a matter of interest to the parties concerned. During the
western passage in particular, which can never safely be set
down at less than a month, there is the prospect of being shut
up for the whole of that period, within the narrow compass of
a ship, with those whom chance has brought together, in
fluenced by all the accidents and caprices of personal character,
and a difference of nations, conditions in life, and education.
The quarter-deck, it is true, forms a sort of local distinction,
and the poor creatures in the steerage seem the rejected of
Providence for the time being; but all who know life will
readily comprehend that the pele-mele of the cabins can seldom
offer any thing very enticing to people of refinement and taste.
Against this evil, however, there is one particular source of
relief; most persons feeling a disposition to yield to the circum
stances in which they are placed, with the laudable and con
venient desire to render others comfortable, in order that they
may be made comfortable themselves.

A man of the world and a gentleman, Mr. Effingham had
looked forward to this passage with a good deal of concern,
on account of his daughter, while he shrank with the sen
sitiveness of his habits from the necessity of exposing one of her


delicacy and plastic simplicity to the intercourse of a ship.
Accompanied by Mademoiselle Viefville, watched over by
Nanny, and guarded by himself and his kinsman, he had lost
some of his apprehensions on the subject during the three
probationary days, and now took his stand in the centre
of his own party to observe the new arrivals, with something
of the security of a man who is intrenched in his own door

The place they occupied, at a window of the hurricane-house,
did not admit of a view of the water ; but it was sufficiently
evident from the preparations in the gangway next the land,
that boats were so near as to render that unnecessary.

" Genus, cockney ; species, bagman," muttered John Effing-

Online LibraryJames Fenimore CooperHomeward bound; or, The chase, a tale of the sea → online text (page 1 of 42)